Baby Boomers Didn’t Have Enough Kids for Someone Like Trump to Get Elected
Credit: Michael Vadon/flickr
By ZACH NOBLE
The white supremec-ish appeal of The Donald is undeniable, and it goes beyond Trump’s white nationalist endorsements. It’s coded into Trump’s cribbed-from-Ronald Reagan slogan, “Make America Great Again”—emphasis on the “Again” that hearkens back to whiter, better times. It sputters forth more visibly when he implies Mexicans are all a bunch of rapists or calls to wipe away the 14th Amendment and start deporting American citizens on the basis of their parentage.
But it’s far too late for Trump’s white nationalist fans.
We’re already living in a post-white America.
The majority of babies born in the U.S. today are minorities, and the Census Bureau projects America will have a non-white majority by 2044. This demographic trend spells absolute disaster for the Republican Party’s Trump-fan nativists, and other demographic forces are problematic for the entire GOP.
How does the GOP turn this around?
Maybe it’s by promoting family life. The GOP needn’t necessarily jump on the paid family leave bandwagon; they could focus on fixing or eliminating government programs that help inflate the price of college tuition (which has left millennials with life-delaying debt burdens), avoid creating housing bubbles that make home ownership more difficult, and stop defending the crony capitalism that funnels money from taxpayers into corporate pockets.
Maybe it’s by getting Millennials back into churches somehow (though research suggests that won’t be easy).
Maybe it’s by reaching out to Latinos, the demographic fueling American population growth. W. managed to win nearly half the Latino vote in 2004—what happened?
Ah, maybe it’s all impossible and the GOP is already dead.
But anyway, the rub: Something like half of Trump’s supporters are Baby Boomers (and many of the rest are of the Silent Generation—not many young people support Trump), and those Baby Boomers have their own generation to blame for the demographic realities that make any Republican candidate, let alone a pro-white race-baiter, a near-impossible sell. After their parents pumped out record-shattering numbers of kids and raised the vast majority of them in stable, two-parent homes, the Boomers turned around and embarked on the values-trashing Sexual Revolution. The U.S. birthrate plummeted, with the total fertility rate hitting bottom in 1976 thanks to the then-20-something Boomers.
Decades on, America has fundamentally transformed.
There’s no going back now, for nostalgic nativists or anyone else. The big question in my mind is why so many of Trump’s fans, who say they like the man because he’s a “winner,” seem wedded (overtly, subconsciously or both) to a doomed white nationalism.
Demographically speaking, white nativism is a yuge loser.
Zach Noble is a journalist who has covered everything from the OPM hack to a rescue dog’s retirement party. He’s been wrestling to reconcile his bleeding heart Catholicism with his pragmatic libertarianism since that freshman year love affair with Ayn Rand. He tweets erratically as @thezachnoble.